Down the Slope
110 Pages
English
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Down the Slope

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110 Pages
English

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Published 01 December 2010
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Language English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Down the Slope, by James Otis This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Down the Slope Author: James Otis Release Date: May 5, 2009 [EBook #28697] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK DOWN THE SLOPE *** Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Josephine Paolucci and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net. "Raise him up!" Skip shouted, and in another instant Fred was suspended over the old shaft. DOWN THE SLOPE BY JAMES OTIS Author of "Telegraph Tom's Venture," "Messenger No. 48," "Toby Tyler," "The Boy Captain," "Silent Peter," etc., etc. ILLUSTRATED M. A. DONOHUE & COMPANY 407-429 Dearborn Street CHICAGO COPYRIGHT 1899 BY THE WERNER COMPANY M. A. DONOHUE & COMPANY PRINTERS AND BINDERS 407-429 DEARBORN STREET CHICAGO CONTENTS PAGES CHAPTER I—THE BREAKER BOY CHAPTER II—THE WARNING CHAPTER III—IN THE SHAFT CHAPTER IV—THE BARRIER CHAPTER V—THE MOB 7-14 14-24 24-33 33-41 41-50 [Pg iii] CHAPTER VI—ON DUTY CHAPTER VII—THE STRUGGLE CHAPTER VIII—THE PURSUIT CHAPTER IX—JOE BRACE CHAPTER X—THE RESCUE CHAPTER XI—BILLINGS AND SKIP CHAPTER XII—A SINGULAR ACCIDENT CHAPTER XIII—BURIED ALIVE CHAPTER XIV—PRECAUTIONS CHAPTER XV—A DISCOVERY CHAPTER XVI—GOOD SAMARITANS CHAPTER XVII—DOWN THE SLOPE CHAPTER XVIII—SHUT DOWN CHAPTER XIX—THE CONSULTATION CHAPTER XX—THE ACCUSED CHAPTER XXI—AMATEUR DETECTIVES CHAPTER XXII—UNEXPECTED NEWS CHAPTER XXIII—A MISADVENTURE CHAPTER XXIV—BILL'S MISHAP CHAPTER XXV—JOE'S INTERVIEW CHAPTER XXVI—TURNING THE TABLES CHAPTER XXVII—AN UNLOOKED-FOR DENIAL CHAPTER XXVIII—OPINIONS CHAPTER XXIX—A QUESTION OF TITLE CHAPTER XXX—A SUIT AT LAW CHAPTER XXXI—SKIP CHAPTER XXXII—ACQUITTED CHAPTER XXXIII—VICTORIOUS CHAPTER XXXIV—THE NEW MINE 51-59 59-66 67-75 75-84 85-93 94-101 101-110 110-118 118-126 126-134 134-142 142-150 150-158 158-165 165-172 173-180 180-187 187-195 195-202 203-210 210-217 217-224 224-230 231-237 237-244 244-253 253-262 262-269 270-273 [Pg iv] LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS "Raise him up!" Skip shouted, and in another instant Fred was suspended over the old shaft Fred set off at full speed, and almost immediately a shout went up from the rioters: "The sneaks are sending for help! Stop that boy!" [Pg v] Frontispiece 74 "You four are to act as sentinels," said the superintendent. "Study this map and you will hit upon a scheme" "Please don't drag me off," Skip said, piteously. "I'll never hurt you or anybody else again" 95 128 DOWN THE SLOPE CHAPTER I THE BREAKER BOY "Jest moved here, eh?" "Came last Friday." "And you are going into the breaker?" "Yes." "For thirty-five cents a day?" "That is all the company pays, and a green hand can't expect to get more." "Were you ever in a mine before?" "I never even saw one." "A trip down the slope will be enough to make you wish such a place in which to earn a living never existed. Why don't you try something else before it is too late?" "What do you mean by 'too late'?" "When a fellow is in debt to the company's store he can't afford to be independent, and it is about the same as selling yourself outright for enough to eat and drink." "I won't get into debt." "Wait a week, and see if you can say the same thing then." [Pg 7] "I mustn't get trusted. I'm the only one to whom mother can look for support. We hadn't any money with which [Pg 8] to go to the city, and so came here. It isn't likely I shall be obliged to stay in the breaker forever, and after a while it will be possible to get a better job. Where are you working?" "I'm Bill Thomas' butty." "What's that?" "His helper. He's a miner, and I'll have the same kind of a lay after being with him a while." "Were you ever in the breaker?" "I sorted slate from coal most three years, an' got more dust than money; but I'm tough, you see, an' didn't wear out my lungs." "What's your name?" "Sam Thorpe; but if you ever want anybody to help you out of a scrape, an' I reckon that'll happen before many days, ask for Bill's butty." "I am Fred Byram, and mother has hired the new house near the store." "I'm sorry for you; but as it can't be helped now, keep your eyes peeled, for the boys are a tough lot. When you want a friend come to me. I like your looks, and wish you'd struck most any other place than Farley's, 'cause it's the worst to be found in the Middle Field." With this not very encouraging remark Sam went toward the mouth of the slope, and the new breaker boy was left to his own devices. It was six o'clock in the morning. The underground workers were coming singly or in groups to begin the day's work for which each would be paid in accordance with the amount of coal taken out, and no one could afford to remain idle many moments. Fred knew he must report to the breaker boss before seven o'clock, and approached the grimy old building [Pg 9] wondering if it would be necessary for him to work three years, as Sam Thorpe had done, before earning more than thirty-five cents per day. Entering the breaker, which was thickly coated both inside and out with coal-dust, he reported to Donovan, the boss, by saying: "I have come to work. Here is my ticket." "Green?" "Yes, sir." "Here, Chunky, take this new hand alongside of you, and see that there is no skylarking." The boy referred to as Chunky made no reply; but looked up from beside the long chute at which he was sitting, as if the task of breaking in a new hand was very welcome. A fat, good-natured fellow he apparently was, and Fred fancied he would be an agreeable task-master. He, like the others, was curious to know if his companion had been in a mine before, and on receiving the information, remarked sagely: "You'll be mighty sick of the whole thing before night, but it's safer than down in the galleries." "What must I do?" "At seven o'clock the coal will be dumped in at the other end of the chute, an' while it's runnin' past you must pick out the slate." "Is that all?" "By the time your hands are cut into mince-meat you'll think it's enough," was the grim reply, and before Fred could speak again the day's labor had begun. The black fragments came through the chute with a roar which [Pg 10] was deafening, and the "green hand" was at a loss to distinguish coal from slate. "Take out the dull, grayish stuff," Chunky shouted, as he seized from